B1G Recap - Week 6

Written by: TJ Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)

Maryland - 28 at (1) Ohio State – 49

After a sputtering start and underwhelming first half, the Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0, 2-0) led the Maryland Terrapins (2-4, 0-2) by only 7 points at halftime. However, the final 30 minutes may have seen the Buckeyes starting to find the elite form that got them to #1. They scored 28 second-half points to pull away from the Terrapins and notch a comfortable 49-28 victory. The game saw a few new wrinkles in the offense. Most notably that J.T. Barrett was being featured as a running quarterback when the Buckeyes got near the end zone. Barrett ran the ball 12 times for 62 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Cardale Jones found some rhythm and went 21-28 with 291 yards and two touchdowns. Maryland was expected to start Daxx Garman but they went with Perry Hills instead. Hills ran the ball for 170 yards and scored twice while also throwing for one touchdown. However, he threw a pair of interceptions and was only 10-27.

After the game, Randy Edsall was relieved of his duties as the head coach of Maryland’s football program and Mike Locksley was named the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. It’s very early in the process but here are a few candidates that I’ve seen speculated about by media members as the potential next head coach of IU’s B1G East rival; Chip Kelly (really?), Matt Rhule (current HC at Temple), Greg Schiano (former Rutgers coach), Al Golden (current Miami coach) and Mike Locksley (current interim coach, very good recruiter but bad record as a Head Coach).

 Indiana - 7 at Penn State – 29

Hoosier Huddle has terrific coverage on this game elsewhere on the site (plus, our recap podcast will be online tonight). Stay with Hoosier Huddle for all the IU football coverage you need.

 Illinois - 20 at (22) Iowa – 29

The Iowa Hawkeyes (6-0, 2-0) led the entire way and did enough to keep the Illinois Fighting Illini (4-2, 1-1) at bay for a 29-20 victory in Kinnick Stadium. Jordan Canzeri was the star of the afternoon as he carried the ball 43 times for 256 yards and one touchdown. Wes Lunt threw for 317 yards and one touchdown as he continued to find top target Geronimo Allison (8 catches for 145 yards and 1 TD). The Hawkeyes moved up to #17 in the AP Poll and they are now 6-0 for the first time since the season they went to the Orange Bowl.

Things aren’t all rosy for the Hawkeyes though. Star defensive lineman Drew Ott tore his ACL during this contest and he is now out for the season. In addition, the Illini were able to stay competitive in this game without the presence of running back Josh Ferguson. The Hawkeyes are now the only 2-0 team in the B1G West as they head to Northwestern for a key clash next Saturday.

 (13) Northwestern - 0 at (18) Michigan – 38

Jehu Chesson returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. It turns out that those seven points would be the only thing Michigan would need to move to 5-1 (2-0) as they shutout their third straight opponent in a 38-0 romp of previously unbeaten Northwestern (5-1, 1-1). This can’t be understated: The Wolverines are playing historic defense right now. They are the first team to hold three straight opponents scoreless since 1995. They are surrendering only 6.3 points per game. They have outscored opponents 177-38 through six games. Their defense is ranked first in scoring defense, second in total defense, second in opposition yards per play, third in run defense and second in pass defense. The coaching staff and players deserve tremendous credit for what they’ve done through six games.

In this game, Jake Rudock was 17 for 23 and 179 yards and Michigan ran the ball 46 times for 201 yards and three touchdowns. The Wolverines are spreading the carries around (potentially due to De’Veon Smith not being 100% healthy) and getting efficient and careful play from Rudock. The coaches and players are no doubt aware that their offense doesn’t have to do much to get a victory. Clayton Thorson threw for 106 yards and Northwestern’s rushing attack was held to only 38 yards on what turned out to be a miserable day for the visitors. The Wildcats will have to rebound quickly as they host B1G West leaders Iowa this coming Saturday.

Wisconsin - 23 at Nebraska – 21

The Wisconsin Badgers (4-2, 1-1) Rafael Gaglianone nailed a field goal with only seconds remaining and the Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-4, 0-2) lost another nail-biter in heartbreaking fashion. Both squads came into this one desperate for a victory after disappointing B1G openers. Nebraska took a 21-20 lead when fullback Andy Janovich chugged 55-yards for a touchdown with 3:38 remaining. Gaglianone doinked a field goal attempt off the upright with 1:26 left and it appeared the Huskers were finally going to grab a close victory. However, Nebraska was extremely conservative with their playcalling and they quickly went three and out and gave the ball back to Joel Stave and the Badgers. Wisconsin got the ball back on the 30, Stave marched them down the field efficiently and Gaglianone nailed a 46-yarder to steal the victory. For the first time since 1959, Nebraska is 2-4.

On the balance of play, Wisconsin deserved to win this game. The Badgers outgained the Huskers 469-325 and Joel Stave threw for 322 yards with one touchdown. Wisconsin’s Dare Ogunbowale carried the ball 18 times for 117 yards after starting tailback Taiwan Deal left with an ankle injury. For Nebraska, they’ll need to figure out a way to regroup and solve their late-game woes. They have now lost four games by a total of 11 points. They still have three ranked teams on the schedule and road trips to Minnesota, Purdue and Rutgers and they now must go 4-2 the remainder of the way just to reach bowl eligibility.

Minnesota - 41 at Purdue – 13

Minnesota (4-2, 1-1) spent the offseason working on improving their passing game. After all, passing was the one weakness they had in 2014 and if they could improve to adequate in that area they had to feel decent about their chances in the wide-open B1G West. Through five games, injuries and poor execution (or maybe just ill-suited personnel) had prevented the passing game from gaining traction and the Golden Gophers were one of the worst offenses in the B1G. However, they went to West Lafayette and rediscovered their smash mouth identity as they ran all over the Purdue Boilermakers (1-5, 0-2), 41-13. The Gophers trailed 6-0 after the first quarter but reeled off 38 unanswered points to embarrass Purdue in front of the sparse Ross-Ade Stadium crowd. Minnesota’s Shannon Brooks was the star as he carried the ball 17 times for 176 yards and one touchdown. In total, Minnesota ran for 326 yards on 48 carries (6.8 yards per carry). Purdue’s David Blough was only 21 of 49 for 207 yards. Turnovers continue to be a problem for Purdue as they coughed up the ball four times (including three interceptions).

Boiler fans have to be wondering how much longer the Darrell Hazell era is going to last as attendance dwindles and losses mount.

(2) Michigan State - 31 at Rutgers – 24

A rational person could look at the Michigan State football season one of two ways. You could say that a team with College Football Playoff aspirations is struggling to beat out-classed foes and is very fortunate to still be unbeaten. You could also say that a team with College Football Playoff hopes is finding ways to win despite not playing its best and that they are still unbeaten and on-track to reach their goals. Neither way of looking at things would be inaccurate as Michigan State (6-0, 2-0) defeated the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2-3, 0-2) despite another somewhat underwhelming performance. Connor Cook threw for 357 yards and two touchdowns and a balanced rushing attack added 132 yards on the ground as the Spartans outgained Rutgers 489-349 and possessed the ball for nearly nine more minutes. However, Chris Laviano was 15-24 and three touchdowns and Leonte Carroo burst back onto the scene after his suspension was lifted with 134 yards and three receiving scores.

Rutgers is a much better team with Carroo back in the fold and if Laviano can continue to find him and take care of the ball, the Scarlet Knights will be a tough out for the remainder of the season. They now travel to Bloomington in a game that both schools will view as a “must win”. As for Michigan State, the Spartans are still unbeaten and tied atop the B1G East. However, they will be underdogs as they travel to the site of College Game Day for their first matchup against the Michigan Wolverines with Jim Harbaugh as head coach. This year’s version of the in-state clash will probably be the most anticipated and nationally relevant game between the two sides in recent memory.